In the Limelight

Spider-Man is pretty hard to defeat. He has superpowers, superstrength, agility, the energy and optimism of youth, and that handy spider sense. However, despite the fact that he saves New York City on a regular basis, some people are not fans of his. Hence, the Spider-Slayers, a series of robots designed to hunt, capture, or kill Spider-Man.

At present, there have been nearly 20 different Spider-Slayers and alternate Slayer-type robots. J. Jonah Jameson controlled the original Spider-Slayer by remote, stalking Spider-Man throughout the city. It could climb walls, Spidey’s webbing slid off of it, and it could ensnare Spider-Man in its coils. New Spider-Slayers followed with some being more humanoid, some were gigantic, and some looked more like spiders. They have had web shooters, laser guns, web cannons, and have possessed artificial intelligence.

The Spider-Slayers were introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man #25 (June 1965), created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. They were originally designed and built by Dr. Spencer Smythe with Jameson’s financial backing. As expected, Spider-Man always defeated the robots. Smythe kept working on the robots, though his efforts backfired, and he was fatally contaminated by radiation poisoning that was in the materials he used. He blamed Jameson and Spider-Man for the ailment and tried to kill both of them, but he died as Spider-Man stopped him.

In Amazing Spider-Man Annual #19 Smythe’s son Alistair created new Spider-Slayers. He relentlessly attacked Spider-Man with his Slayers, even mutating into a humanoid Spider-Slayer.

The original Spider-Slayer was seen in the Reanimator’s collection with other robots and machines. Wolverine then destroyed the Spider-Slayer when the Reanimator tried to use it. Jameson also used it to attack She-Hulk when she married his son John.

When Jameson becomes Mayor of New York he uses Spider-Slayers to equip his Anti-Spider Squad. Their technology was added to the Mandroid suits, but when Spider-Man saves the Spider-Slayer Squad from a bomb they quit their jobs.

When the Goblin King and the Goblin Underground group attack Manhattan, Mayor Jameson reveals Goblin-Slayers to use against them. Jameson sends a Goblin-Slayer to a robbery location and then on pursuit of Superior Spider-Man, Doctor Octopus’ mind in Peter Parker’s body. A group of Spider-Slayers confront Superior Spider-Man and Jameson swears that will stop Spider-Man even if it costs him everything.

Superior Spider-Man tries to defeat the Spider-Slayers, discovering that they are more powerful than previous incarnations. They are shortly deactivated by Spider-Man 2099, but then the Goblin King takes control of them, declaring that Norman Osborn runs the city. Jameson is then under fire for losing control of the Spider-Slayers. Peter Parker is then able to trace the Spider-Slayers’ signal to OsCorp Tower to stop them.

The Spider-Slayers jumped out of comics in the 1960s for the Spider-Man animated series. Then in the ‘90s, they returned in the new Spider-Man animated series, featuring various versions that were created by the Smythe family. Several versions appeared in Ultimate Spider-Man vs. The Sinister 6 and the 2010s Spider-Man show.

In video games, the Spider-Slayers bosses in the Spider-Man Animated Series video game for SNES and Sega Genesis. The Humanoid Spider-Slayers were featured in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and some, called S-Bots, were in The Amazing Spider-Man game.

With an arsenal of capabilities backed by a string of revenge-motivated individuals, there’s no telling what the Spider-Slayers could do next.